Voted the Best Burger of 2012 by Westword, Juicy Burgers & Dogs doesn’t skimp on quality, using never-frozen meat, fresh veggies, and artisanal buns in its delectable offerings. Baked with organic rye flour, white and pumpernickel buns surround preservative- and filler-free patties with the perfect amount of open-flame char and mouthwatering juiciness. Guests can pick 100% fresh ground beef, Colorado ground lamb, or Red Bird Farms chicken breasts to fill the buns, adorned with spreadable sharp cheddar cheese or slices of Tillamook cheddar, as well as slabs of fresh veggies. Guests can also sink teeth into a juicy dog, choosing from a classic Vienna all-beef hot dog, char-grilled Kobe jumbo dog, or Sheboygan-style wisconsin beer brat. Main courses are accompanied by french fries, cut throughout the day from kennebec potatoes and fried in pure canola oil, and Häagen Dazs milk shakes, made solely from the milk of Danish-speaking cows.
In the midst of bright oranges and purple and a mural of the Denver skyline, an insignia of five stars hangs displayed on Five Star Burgers' walls. Though the eatery's recipes have spread to Missouri and Colorado, they each draw from the southwestern flavors of the restaurant's hometown of Taos, New Mexico. At the Denver locations, chefs build burgers and sandwiches using local Durham Ranch bison, local chickens, and natural steroid- and antibiotic-free beef from Harris Ranch when possible. They offset meaty offerings with vegetarian salads, veggie burgers, and portobello sandwiches. At a full bar, bartenders stir specialty cocktails or pour pint glasses of local craft beer. The restaurant staff's commitment to sustainable practices also extends to packaging and utensils: the carryout packages are made from recycled biodegradable paper, and the drinking cups are fashioned from recycled plastic by elves recycled from Christmas.
Bombay Bowl's owner, Amar, says he "grew up in an East Indian kitchen," where he attentively learned his family's generations-old knowledge of the region's aromatic and salutary spices. Although his menu features the familiar combinations of turmeric, ginger, and coriander, he set out to infuse his Indian cuisine with a casual, health-conscious environment. The cooks eschew trans fats, artificial flavorings, and schnozberries, seeking out all-natural beef and chicken, chopping vibrant vegetables, and baking fresh naan over their kitchen's campfires instead. With these ingredients, diners can customize their own bowl of long-grain basmati rice, choosing from five meaty or vegetarian fillings, four sauces, and four chutneys. The chefs also whip up gluten-free and vegan options, accommodating virtually any diet.
The menu is stuffed with a wide variety of mini-burgers made with all-natural ingredients. Beyond basic beef, the mini-mounds also feature chicken, pork, buffalo, shrimp, salmon, and vegetarian-friendly black beans. Stuffed with exotic flavors, tempting textures, and void of any fillers, the burgers are modestly mouth-sized, unlike embarrassingly mammoth munches that don't seem appropriate to eat in public or alone in the corner of a garage. Try the Kansas City ($2.50), mesquite ground pork with caramelized barbecue sauce, or the Bangkok ($3.25), a slightly more spicy burger made with Thai peanut shrimp and fresh veggies. Non–burger fans will appreciate the creative selection of salads (the Incan Quinoa is gluten free, vegetarian, and tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette, $5.25 entree portion) and breakfast tastes. Until 10:30 a.m. every day, you can pair the café's hand-infused drip coffee (up to $1.85) with organic egg sandwiches (like the vegan Zephyr, compiled with spinach, feta, and artichokes on an English muffin, $3.50) and arepas, South American corn cakes with cheese, red peppers, and green chilis ($2.25).
No season goes without celebration at Ivy at the Glenn. With each solstice and equinox, the chefs debut a revamped menu that takes full advantage of the newly available produce and ingredients. Italian, Mediterranean, and Thai flavors lend an international flair to regional, contemporary American dishes, which often incorporate locally sourced, certified Angus beef and Colorado lamb. The sprawling wine list extends its reach quite a bit past Colorado's borders, filling the pages with New and Old World bottles from France, South America, and beyond.
Surrounded by modern touches such as concrete floors and pendant lamps suspended in whisk-like cages, the most striking feature in Ivy at the Glenn's dining room is distinctly naturalistic. Crosscuts of tree trunks—ranging from saplings to full-grown trees—fill an entire wall, creating an eclectic patchwork of splitting stumps that complements the rustic wooden tables and exposed ceiling beams. During warm months, the restaurant opens its outdoor patio for guests who enjoy their meals while lounging in the sunlight.
La Polleria—a bright, quick-service eatery modeled after traditional Peruvian pollerias—serves up pollo a la brasa, rotisserie chicken marinated in a guarded blend of spices and fired over mesquite charcoal. Named Best New Restaurant in the Centennial Citizen's 2012 Best of the Best, La Polleria slow-roasts plump and seasoned chickens sourced from local purveyor Red Bird Farms in its six-spit rotisserie brick oven. The chefs plate white- and dark-meat chicken—featured in Denver Westword—with traditional sides, such as fried sweet plantains and freshly cut Yukon Gold potato fries. They serve each plate with a mild or spicy aji dipping sauce, simmered up from local chilies and imported peppers. Out in the dining room, diners wash back sizzling rotisserie chicken dinners and tangy barbeque wraps with glasses of cool Inka Kola—a sugary soft drink that flows from enchanted Peruvian mountain streams.